Saturday, November 25, 2006

Larry's birthday party

Sponge Bob Pinata! That says it all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving in Ecuador

Oh yea, I'm very thankful to be down here. I woke up today to clear skies, a great view of Sumaco Volcano which is halfway between our cabins on the Rio Quijos and Tena. I think I can speak for our group this week that they are thankful to be here as well. Yesterday at the take out I heard 2 ¨Best paddling day ever¨ and another¨I loved this river thanks for bringing me here¨. It has been an incredibleable week so far. We haven't followed the published itinerary for a class III plus trip, but that is the beauty of knowing the runs down here. We have jumped around a bit to hit the best water levels on different rivers. In fact we have done FIVE RIVERS IN FOUR DAYS.
Day 1: Picapiedra run on the Rio Quijos, putting in at Cabanas Tres Rios and running down through Picapiedra. The river was up so we had some exciting runs and rolls in Pica even after scouting. We finished off with a cartwheel session at the sala honda playspot.
Day 2: >It rained all night so we headed to the Upper Misahualli. After a warm-up on the technical run below Archidoan we put in at El Renten and paddled down to our river side lodge for the night. It was an outstanding super technical day of paddling followed by evening entertainment provided by spider monkeys playing Tarzan in the trees.

That is Step's red helmet, nice wa-thunk!

Day 3: We switched it up again with a big water run on the Jatunyacu. Hatless hole was in and Steph got the biggest ride of her life. Nick kept saying each rapid had the biggest wave of his life till he got tired of saying it.
Day 4: We went big today, about twenty miles on the lower Jondachi and Hollin. This is probably the most scenic run in Ecuador with nothing but jungle the whole way. The Lower J. is fun continuous technical paddling and after about two and a half hours you hit the Hollin and the volume more than doubles. Big pushy drop pool with some great play for those who aren't too tired. Jeff taught Nick the back deck roll at lunch and he was hitting it pretty good on the run down. He maybe should have tried it sissors but that is a story he will have to tell.

Today we are off to paddle the Quijos above our lodge (CTR). I'm already looking forward to grabing a beer and a shower then challenging Nick to a game of horseshoes. Best of all Lili is cooking up her famous thanksgiving feast. I hope you all have as much to be thankful about as I do.
Pool rolling with mokeys in the trees.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Ecua-season begins

I've been here in Ecuador for almost a month and Don for two weeks and we just finished our first trip. Before the trip we were doing all the usual stuff like visiting local buddies, stocking the bar at Cabanas Tres Rios, volunteering to help with the first river festival of the season on the Rio Quijos but primarily we were doing our best to get on all the rivers we guide. It isn't as easy as it sounds since there are over twenty runs split between the Quijos and Napo valleys. But by combining two or three runs each day and some judicious splitting of territory we got down most of them. That is one of my favorite things about coming down here; paddling familiar rivers that have changed enough to keep you on your toes. Good news on the runs, the rapids are either the same or better at the flows I saw them at. Supprisingly the most changes happen on the Quijos just below our lodge.
Our first trip was a great one with eight guests split between kayakers and rafters. They were from Colorado, Utah and Washington and we had almost perfect water levels to get on a real mix of runs. A couple days of tecnical rivers, one big water run and the rest were on fun drop pool rivers. I have to admit that both Don and I were a tad bit rusty in the raft resulting in a few swims, but the river was kind to us and we didn't flip.
The raft looking small on the Lower Jondachi

Sunset at happy-hour